Frequently Asked Questions

How are students prepared for life after KCAI?

Where do KCAI graduates find employment?

What are KCAI almuni doing in the real world?

Where do KCAI almuni go to get an M.F.A.?

How many KCAI alumni obtain an M.F.A.?

Internship related FAQ's

What is the internship program at KCAI about?

How do I register for an internship for credit?

How do I find a faculty advisor?

What are "learning goals?"

What is the reflection paper and do I have to do it?

Am I required to do an internship to graduate?

When are internships for credit available?

Can I do an internship for credit in a different city or abroad?

Can I get credit for an internship that I did in the past?

Do I have to work the same number of hours every week?

Can I turn an existing job into an internship?

Are all internships unpaid?

Does my internship have to be related to my major?

How do I start looking for internships?

Will the Academic Advising and Career Services office provide an internship for me?

When should I start looking for an internship?

What if I don’t know what I am interested in?

How are students prepared for life after KCAI?

The career services office at KCAI assists enrolled students in developing an organized strategy for expanding their career focus in conjunction with their academic progress. Beginning with the freshman year, the career services office provides a sequence of career-related experiences as well as information and resources to facilitate the journey to graduation.

As the career services staff assists students in guiding their careers, they employ resources such as career skills workshops, professional practice seminars, alumni speakers, one-on-one appointments and prospective employer lectures.

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Where do KCAI graduates find employment?

In past years approximately 41 percent of our graduates have pursued careers in art-related businesses, 18 percent have gone on to teach at the high-school or college level and 26 percent have become studio artists.

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What are KCAI alumni doing in the real world?

Animation

Recent graduates work for a number of local and regional animation production houses as well as for firms involved in the production of national programs, such as the Cartoon Network’s Emmy Award-winning “Robot Chicken,” or with animation icons such as Bill Plympton. In addition, graduates have gone on to pursue their education at various institutions including The California Institute of the Arts.

Art History

KCAI graduates with art history/studio majors have been actively involved in a variety of studio practices and major exhibitions. Several have received Peggy Guggenheim Collection internships in Venice, Italy, and many have pursued M.F.A. and Ph.D. degrees at distinguished universities.

Ceramics

Alumni of the ceramics program have been selected for Peggy Guggenheim Collection internships in Venice, Italy, as well as for residencies at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Mont., the Mudflats Art Center in Boston, the Richard Carter Studio in California’s Napa Valley and the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado. Others have been admitted to graduate programs at Alfred University, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Arizona State University and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, to name a few.

Creative Writing

Alumni have become magazine feature writers, art critics and reviewers and have gone on to graduate programs in all kinds of areas, including writing and architecture. Others have pursued careers in industry.

Digital Filmmaking

Alumni have been involved in the television, film and advertising industries, as outlined in the following movies: KCAI alumni worked on motion graphics in “The Kite Runner” and “Stranger Than Fiction”; motion graphics and special effects in the James Bond movie “Quantum of Solace”; as a puppeteer in “Iron Man”; on special effects in “The Dark Knight,” “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “The League of Extraordinary Gentleman,” “End of Days” and “Ghosts of Mars”; on visual effects in “Pitch Black”;  as director on “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within,” “The Matrix  Reloaded” and “History of America”; and as director assistant on “Stay The Same Never Change”; television: KCAI alumni have worked on visual effects in “The X Files,” “Lost” and “Pushing Daisies,”; as director for MTV’s “Rock The Vote”; and on numerous music videos, including “The Faint,” “Guided By Voices,” “Ministry” and “Skinny Puppy”; commercials: KCAI alumni have worked on advertising campaigns for Coke, Diesel, Adidas, EA, Best Buy, MTV, Cartoon Network, American Movie Classics and many others.

Fiber

Students who graduate with an emphasis in fiber arts leave prepared to attend graduate school, exhibit  in galleries, host their own fashion shows, design for mills and apparel companies or open their own businesses.Their work is sculptural, functional, aesthetic and experimental. KCAI alumni have handled costume design for films including “27 Dresses,” “Kill Bill” and “Spiderman.” They are in top positions in mills and studios as design directors at Truetextiles and Wearbest mills. They own their own textile companies or production studios. Others have worked for clothing companies such as Old Navy, The Gap, Target, Asiatica and Peruvian Connection.

Graphic Design

Graphic design graduates work in a wide array of design fields. Some alumni pursue careers with large corporations such as Crate and Barrel and Hallmark Cards, while others join advertising and design firms, such as Crispin Porter Bugosky, Eisterhold, Pentagram, Sullivan Higdon Sink and VML. Still others pursue the M.F.A. degree at universities nationwide.

Illustration

KCAI illustration graduates have worked for Hallmark Cards, The Kansas City Star, Harrah’s Casino, Bernstein-Rein Advertising, Coca-Cola, Sprint and MTV. They have had work published in The New York Times, Wired Magazine, 3x3 Magazine, American Illustration, Print Magazine, Woman’s Day, The Kansas City Star and Communication Arts. In addition, graduates have gone on to pursue their education in graduate departments at institutions including the University of Kansas, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Painting

Graduates of the painting program at KCAI have attained national and international reputations as exhibiting artists.  Recent graduates Eric Sall (’99), Brian Fahlstrom (’00) and Amy Meyers (’95) have had their work included in the Saatchi Collection in London.  Work by Fahlstrom and Angela Dufresne (’91) was included in the “Triumph of Painting - Part 6” publication and exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery and Museum 52 in London. Work by Ke-Sook Lee (’82) and the alumni mentioned above has been shown in Frankfurt, Germany; the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.; the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; and the Galerie Lefor Openo in Paris.

Photography

Work by KCAI alumni has been exhibited at George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film; Venice Biennale of Architecture; Whitney Museum; Museum of Photographic Arts San Diego; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; Nelson Atkins Museum of Art; Kunstverein Ulm; Galerie Herrmann & Wagner, Berlin; Los Angles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago; Site Santa Fe; and many other galleries and museums around the world.

Printmaking

Graduates of the KCAI printmaking department enjoy a wide variety of successful careers. They exhibit, curate and perform on a national scale. Graduates open their own custom manufacturing studios and print shops. Porter Teleo, founded by a graduate of KCAI, has been featured in magazines including Vogue and Metropolitan Home. Hammerpress, founded by another graduate, represents the Kansas City music scene with award-winning posters. From high end wallpaper to street posters, printmakers with B.F.A. degrees from KCAI work to engage contemporary culture at every level.

Sculpture

Graduates of the program have become successful artists and sculptors in their own right, and many have moved on to graduate school to refine their practice. Careers in sculpture include studio artist, architectural details artist, set designer, foundry owner/worker, restorer, conservator, toy designer, puppeteer, industrial designer and teacher/professor.

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Where do KCAI almuni go to get an M.F.A.?

Recent KCAI graduates have been admitted to the following graduate schools:

Alfred University
American Film Institute
Boston University
Cranbrook Academy of Art
Cornell University
Maryland Institute College of Art
Rhode Island School of Art and Design
Rutgers University
Stanford University
State University of New York, Purchase
University of California, San Diego
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Minnesota
Virginia Commonwealth University
Yale University

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How many KCAI alumni obtain an M.F.A.?

Our statistics show that 10 percent of our graduates pursue M.F.A. immediately, while 35 percent get their master's degree within five years.

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What is the internship program at KCAI about?

The internship program at KCAI gives students an opportunity to integrate academic, professional and personal skill development. In an internship, students undertake supervised, meaningful work in a professional setting. Given these features of an internship, it is critical that you plan your internship in advance with careful consideration of your objectives and desired outcomes.

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How do I register for an internship for credit?

Once you have an agreement with your internship site, visit the Academic Advising and Career Services office for an internship contract. The internship site supervisor, the faculty advisor and you must sign the contract. When you have all signatures and have returned the contract to the Academic Advising and Career Services office, we will register you in the internship for credit. It is your responsibility to be at full-time status (12 credit hours) by the last day of the add/drop period.

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How do I find a faculty advisor?

To identify a potential faculty advisor for an internship, consider faculty members in your major and faculty members who have an interest in the subject area or career field of your internship. If you are taking your internship for studio credit, your faculty advisor must be your studio class instructor. When you have identified a potential faculty advisor, ask that individual if he or she would be willing to assume that role.

The faculty member will likely ask you some questions about the type of internship you are interested in and your overall goals for the internship. Be prepared to answer the following questions: 

  • How will this internship support my academic learning goals?
  • How will this internship support my life or career goals? 
  • What skills do I hope to gain or strengthen during this internship?

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What are "learning goals?"

Learning goals are objectives that describe what you intend to learn during your internship. Be specific. Articulating what you want to learn from an internship requires some thought. It’s good to begin with a general idea of what you want to learn, then develop and refine this idea through discussions with your internship supervisor and faculty advisor. Finally, write down the results of this process as a number of discrete learning goals on your contract.

At the end of the semester, you will be expected to write a reflection paper stating how you have attempted to meet those learning goals during your internship. This involves identifying experiences and tasks that were available at the internship site and analyzing how they connected with your goals.

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What is the reflection paper and do I have to do it?

Students who participate in an internship for credit are expected to write a 750- to 800-word reflection paper that describes how their experiences during the internship have helped fulfill their learning goals. If you are a CASL student, you must discuss the relationship that has developed between your internship and your studio practice. The paper should reflect your personal experiences. Be sure to include how the internship has affected your preparation for life after gradation, including networking, learning new skills and professional development.

The reflection paper must be submitted to the Academic Advising and Career Services office along with an evaluation of the internship site no later than one week prior to the end of the semester. Faculty advisors will assign a grade for the internship based on the internship site coordinator’s evaluation and an assessment of the student’s reflection paper. Failure to submit the reflection paper will result in a lower grade.

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Am I required to do an internship to graduate?

Students in photography, digital filmmaking, illustration and ceramics are required to do an internship as part of their course work before they graduate from KCAI. Although students in other departments are not required to do internships, we highly encourage all students to do at least one internship during their undergraduate experience.

Students can earn up 12 credit hours for internships. Internship credits are usually applied toward studio elective requirements but may be applied to art history or creative writing credits, depending on the type of internship and the work the student does there.

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When are internships for credit available?

Internships for credit are available throughout the year, but most students do internships during the fall and spring semesters. Internships also can be completed during the summer and winter intersessions, but to earn credit, students must pay tuition. Students must have their internship contracts completed before the last day of add/drop for the semester they wish to get credit.

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Can I do an internship for credit in a different city or abroad?

The procedure to get credit for an internship in a different city or abroad is the same as getting credit for a local internship. Inform the Academic Advising and Career Services office well in advance so that we may verify the site meets the KCAI internship program requirements. You will need to complete all the paperwork before you leave in order to get academic credit for your internship abroad or in a different city.

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Can I get credit for an internship that I did in the past?

No. All internships for academic credit have to be approved by Academic Advising and Career Services office before the student begins the internship.

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Do I have to work the same number of hours every week?  

No. We recommend that you negotiate your schedule with your site supervisor. As long as you have completed the stipulated work hours at the end of the semester or session and have turned in your time sheet signed by your site coordinator, you will receive credit for the internship. The average number of hours you work per week will depend on the length of the internship and how many credits you are earning.

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Can I turn an existing job into an internship? 

It is possible to turn an existing job into an internship. Your work as an intern should reflect your academic, personal and professional goals. The Academic Advising and Career Services office will evaluate the internship site’s proposal to determine whether the experience would qualify as an internship. Talk with your faculty advisor and the Academic Advising and Career Services office prior to arranging such an internship. 

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Are all internships unpaid?

No. The internship site determines whether an internship is paid or unpaid. Internships in the nonprofit sectors and with studio artists are often unpaid. Corporate internships are often paid.

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Does my internship have to be related to my major?

No. Internships offer students an opportunity to explore a possible career field or gain experience in a career field of interest while applying knowledge gained in the classroom to the working world. The career you choose to explore or pursue may or may not be related to your major, therefore an internship does not have to be related to your major.

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How do I start looking for internships?

To conduct an effective internship search, use as many resources and strategies as possible. The internship listing available in the Academic Advising and Career Services office is one resource for finding an internship. Other strategies include speaking to professors, networking and identifying and contacting potential internship sites. If you need assistance finding an internship, make an appointment with someone in the Academic Advising and Career Services office to discuss strategies and develop a plan of action.

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Will the Academic Advising and Career Services office provide an internship for me?

The internship search and application process is an essential part of the internship learning experience. Obtaining an internship is the student’s responsibility. The Academic Advising and Career Services office can help at every step by providing the preparation, guidance and resources you will need to be successful. The best advice is to begin your search early. If you need assistance, schedule an appointment with Rishad Gandhi, 816-802-3443 or rgandhi@kcai.edu.

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When should I start looking for an internship?

Start early! We encourage you to start looking for an internship at least three months prior to the internship start date. The amount of time it will take to find an opportunity varies. Some employers have formal internship programs with predetermined deadlines for each semester. These deadlines can be three to five months before the internship start date.

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What if I don’t know what I am interested in?

You are not alone. Many students are uncertain of their career interests. Fortunately the Academic Advising and Career Services office has a variety of resources that can help you identify your interests. Make an appointment to discuss strategies and resources that can help you answer these questions.

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